Bigfoot is one of those legends that keeps prevailing throughout all advances in science and technology. Speculations about the creature have never faltered. Given that, it’s a little surprising that the sasquatch has never really been given its due on film. Bigfoot movies exist, to be sure, but they’re by no means as popular as vampires, werewolves or ghosts. Even in the more traditional ranks of monsters and creature features, they never truly made their mark.
Yet the sub-genre, sub-sub-genre as it may be, is still there. Both good movies and absolutely horrendous movies have been produced on the subject. The truly terrible ones always seem to get the most play and be the most accessible. Which is a shame considering the amount of good and—at the very least—fun Bigfoot features that fall by the wayside.
With that in mind, here are five essential films from a sub-sub-genre that even the most hardcore horror fans tend to overlook.
Night of the Demon
An anthropology professor relates, through flashbacks, a horrific account of a run-in with Bigfoot in which he was the only survivor. While it might be a Sasquatch movie all around, it draws a lot from the slashers that were beginning to rise in popularity at that point in the early 1980’s. This is one of the rare Bigfoot films that is actually overtly violent. It was so violent, in fact, that it was banned in the UK and listed as a “video nasty” by the British Board of Film Classification. It remained banned until 1994. While this is certainly a flawed production, it’s a lot of fun and makes for an easily accessible creature feature that will satisfy the slasher audience.
Before they became known as the company that revived the classic monsters, Hammer Films produced a Yeti feature. It naturally starred Peter Cushing and despite its inherent cheesiness, given the fact that it was a monster movie produced in the late fifties, The Abominable Snowman is not bad. It’s a little more about man’s animalistic nature, while the Yeti is depicted as a creature that just wants to be left alone. Which is probably not much of a stretch. It makes a good point and is at least a little more philosophical than the usual Bigfoot fare.
Not many people know about this movie, produced by Kevin Smith and starring Jason Lee and Jason Mewes. It’s a Canadian film that Smith and company took part in right after Mallrats. It’s an extremely independent movie with a budget even smaller than that of Clerks that takes an Apocalypse Now sort of approach to a Bigfoot hunter. While this is certainly a comedy, it’s a heartfelt and incredibly surreal film as well.
Now, it’s quickly pointed out that Harry and the Hendersons is not a horror movie. It’s a comedy and a family comedy at that. But as a child, there are parts of this film that were terrifying. The entire sequence in which the family actually hits the Bigfoot with their car is like something right out of a late night creature feature; from when Harry first springs to life after being hit and roaring into the camera to when George discovers the Bigfoot alive inside his home. These scenes would be right at home in any of the above pictures and while the rest of the movie is as lighthearted as can be, it’s tough to ignore the genre-infused elements.
One of the most infamous Bigfoot movies—if not the most infamous—The Legend of Boggy Creek is sort of an early found footage movie. That’s not a totally accurate descriptor, given that the movie is shot specifically to look like a documentary and not a home movie, but the intention is clear as is the influence. The makers of The Blair Witch Project admitted to taking inspiration from Legend of Boggy Creek. It’s still the only Bigfoot film to spawn both a couple of sequels and a remake. While it’s a slow feature and can be fairly hard to sit through, it’s hard not to admire what it accomplished, or at least to understand what it set out to do.